The world regularly sees alarming events. Many of our grandparents saw the stock market crash of 1929, the rash of suicides that followed, and the ten years of slowly crawling out of the depression that ensued.
Many of our parents heard President Roosevelt announce the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the entry of the US into World War II, the deadliest of all wars.
Many of today’s grandparents remember the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. In May, the U.S.S.R. armed Cuba with nuclear missiles that were pointed directly at the US. In October, Russian ships headed to the Caribbean with nuclear weapons on board. The threat of an atomic war was real and present. The possibility that nuclear weapons would be raining down on the US was shockingly real.
In elementary school many of us participated in air-raid drills to prepare us to take cover in the event of a nuclear war. At the sound of an irritating buzzer, we crawled under our desks and put our hands over the back of our necks and heads in an effort to be ready to protect ourselves.
The US set up a blockade to keep the Russian ships from entering the Caribbean, and Russia warned that the blockade would lead to war. It didn’t, but we lived through years knowing that the Cold War could become a very hot one in an instant; one in which a single bomb could wipe out tens-of-millions of people, us included.
Today, we are grandparents living in yet another shocking reality, one we did not see coming. But we are not strangers to fear. We have seen previous generations respond to fear with the weapon of faith. We have a great reservoir of faith that has been built by our own experiences with suffering, sacrifice, endurance, and love. One of the great benefits of being older, especially for people with faith in God, is the peace and confidence we own. God is good no matter how bad the world around us appears to be.
In every age, children look at those who have lived through times of crisis. When they see calmness reigning over anxiety, when they receive assurance with a smile, we are passing on our faith just as certainly as when we teach them the Christian doctrine.
In times like these, faith like yours can inoculate others against fear.
“May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Mike Shaughnessy is the founder of Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club and lives in Lansing, Michigan. His book, The Strategic Grandparent, published by The Word Among Us press, will be released in May 2020.
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